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Ron Mexico

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Go to the Puerto Rico page
Go to the Axis & Allies Pacific 1940 page
Go to the Risk 2210 A.D. page
Go to the Dominion page
Go to the Ticket to Ride page
Go to the Ghost Stories page

Ghost Stories

57 out of 68 gamers thought this was helpful

Ghost Stories is a very difficult cooperative game where players control Chinese monks as they defend a village against an onslaught of ghostly invaders. The iPad version captures the beauty of the visuals as well as the tension of the gameplay, so if you like the board game, you’ll love this.

Like the board game, you can play with one to four players. I personally play it as a solitaire game (I don’t really care for co-op games with other players) and control all four characters myself. That way my monks always help each other out without me commanding someone else to make the move I want.

For more detail about the gameplay, check out this review of the board game.

I usually try to think of pros and cons for reviews, but I honestly can’t think of anything negative to say about this app. The visuals are excellent. The interface is intuitive and easy to navigate. And the game in general is just plain good. If you don’t mind a challenge, I highly recommend it.

Go to the Ticket to Ride page

Ticket to Ride

32 out of 40 gamers thought this was helpful

(Sorry for the wall of text, summary below)

I really don’t understand Days of Wonder’s thought process with their Ticket to Ride apps. Almost without exception, top tier board game apps on iOS have two things in common: a slightly higher price point than the typical $1-$3 apps out there, and a universal format if possible, meaning they work on any iOS device. DoW got the high price point part down, but not the universal part. As I’m writing this if I wanted to purchase everything available it’d cost $27, and for that I get three separate apps with inexplicably varying features.

On their own the apps are top notch with only very minor issues to complain about. For example on the pocket versions it’s a bit clunky reaching your online games to take a turn, but otherwise they’re fine. The iPad version is almost perfect, but is missing a feature the iPhone versions have. And possibly most annoying is the fact that not only are the iPhone apps separate from the iPad app to begin with, the US and Europe versions are, for no apparent reason whatsoever, separate apps from one other!

Carcassonne is held up as the gold standard of iOS board games for good reason. If I want to play a live game against someone I can fire it up without delay. I also have the option to play asynchronous matches against other players over longer stretches of time. And both of the above can use any combination of the base game and the three expansions available so far. The developers obviously took great care to make this an excellent experience.

Ticket to Ride is the exact opposite experience. If I want to play a live game on my iPhone I’m out of luck. Only async is available there. And if I want to play async games on my iPad, well, the otherwise perfect iPad app doesn’t have that option. I can do async… by installing the iPhone apps. So I click out of the beautiful iPad app to open the US iPhone app, which looks hideous in 2x mode by the way, and tap through the clunky interface to find my games and make my moves. And then I close that, open the equally ugly-at-2x Europe version and make my moves there! So very frustrating.


On its own the iPad version of Ticket to Ride is a great app of a great game. I’ve played hundreds of games online, and have no plans to stop any time soon. The visuals are excellent, it’s easy to find opponents to play with, and the interface and mechanics are near perfect. It would rate 10/10 if it was universal. Maybe at least 9/10 if it included asyncronous play. As it stands it’s hard to recommend it to people looking for a top-of-the-line experience. This game should be mentioned in the same breath as the best-of-the-best iOS games like Carcassonne and Ascension, but poor decision making on the part of the publisher is holding it back.

Go to the The Manhattan Project page
140 out of 153 gamers thought this was helpful

I almost bought this game sight unseen just in appreciation of the relatively modern theme. We’re building a castle? Ok, that sounds pretty good I guess. We’re building NUCLEAR BOMBS? YES. I am IN.

If you’ve played Caylus or Stone Age you’ll immediately catch on to the mechanics in this game. On your turn, you place one worker on the main board, then as many as you want on your player board. You collect resources, build buildings, and take other actions to get ahead of your competitors in the arms race.

Where this game diverges from the other worker-placement games I mentioned is it’s interactivity with other players. You can use your opponents’ buildings (preventing them from doing so), and can even attack them directly, damaging buildings and making them inoperable until repaired.

To clarify something in the “First Impressions from a Newbie” review. He mentions someone winning the game in one round. In case it’s not obvious, he means that in one round the winning player went from 0 victory points, to having enough to trigger the end of the game. The game certainly didn’t take one turn (the game doesn’t really have rounds) to play out in general. That player took several turns to get himself in position to end the game, and the other players likely missed opportunities to slow him down.

This is a great game. I think Caylus is bit better overall (the turn order and round mechanic Caylus uses adds a lot of strategy), but the theme and the interactivity make up the difference for me. The Manhattan Project will be a staple with my group for a long time.

The game plays in around 90 minutes, and I think is probably a more-the-merrier type game. It’s fine with two, but obviously the competition for spots on the board isn’t as interesting with less competitors. Each additional player adds more difficulty and more divergent tactics to the game, which increases the enjoyment factor immensely. Highly recommended, especially if you’re a fan of Stone Age or Caylus and want a change of scenery.

Go to the Glen More page

Glen More

6 out of 16 gamers thought this was helpful

I may have never heard about this game had I not seen it on the shelf at a local gaming meetup. I looked at the back, saw vaguely Carcassonne-looking components, and decided to check it out. I’m glad I did, because Glen More is now one of my groups new favorites.

The game is simple on its surface, but there are lots of decisions to make along the way, and if you don’t plan ahead properly while laying your tiles you can paint yourself into a corner later in the game. Every time I’ve played either myself or someone else will say something to the effect of, “Dangit, I should have done that differently last turn.” The ideal strategy is often not obvious, which is great.

It’s a quick game, playing in about an hour. And unlike a lot of my collection it scales really well. I’ve played games with two, four, and five players and it has been excellent every time. Highly recommended.

Go to the Axis & Allies Guadalcanal page
26 out of 28 gamers thought this was helpful

Axis & Allies: Guadalcanal is an interesting beast. It looks and feels like Axis & Allies, but the mechanics and strategy are completely different, so seasoned A&A players may have to ignore their instincts to be successful here.

Playing the game

The objective of the game is simple enough: Earn 15 victory points before your opponent. VPs are earned by building and controlling airfields on the islands, as well as destroying your opponent’s capital ships. During most games a player will earn a minimum of two or three VPs per round, so most games will last around five rounds. Time spend will likely be around two hours once both players know their way around the game.

The biggest change from the base games is the attack system. Attacking is done with a battle box, a small box with twelve dice inside and a list of units in order from 1 to 12. Hits are assigned by the box itself, so it’s difficult to determine if the attack will pay off before you make your move. It also requires more consideration when moving units into harm’s way. For example, you move a few transports to a sea zone in anticipation of dropping off land units there to gain control of the island. Traditional A&A thinking would say to move other ships along with them, especially battleships, which in Guadalcanal can ignore the first hit they take each round without being damaged. However, with the battle box, you can’t choose your casualties, so whatever defense you send along with your transports could fail to protect them depending on the roll.

Also complicating things is the fact that attacks are done in waves: first against air units, then sea units, and finally on land units. So when considering how a land battle will go on an island, you need to consider what air and sea units may or may not survive their attack phases. This can lead to a bit of strategy paralysis for deep thinking players.

All that is not to say that it is a bad battle system. Despite a bit of randomness thrown in by the battlebox, I like the new system and the challenges it presents. Just be prepared for a bit of a learning curve for new players. This is one game where a person playing his 10th game will almost always destroy someone playing his 1st or 2nd.

Good things about the game

Every game of Guadalcanal I’ve played has been pretty different from the others. The decisions a player makes will need to take what his opponent is doing in to account for him to succeed. In some games I’ve aggressively pushed for new islands in the middle of the map, while in others I’ve played more defensively while reacting to my opponent. Each method has both worked well and worked poorly, so there is no “once you learn this strategy you’ll win every time” situation here.

Not as good things

The components are a mixed bag. The board itself and the plastic units are excellent, although it is a little hard to distinguish between the battleship and the cruiser on the U.S. side. The player reference cards are huge, but very useful.

I don’t really like the battle box. It’s fairly small and I don’t feel like the dice inside are getting a good randomizing roll. I ended up printing up this battle strip and buying the matching dice to go with it. This adds a little time to each roll to get the dice straight, but it’s a good solution.

I also don’t like how recent A&A games don’t include paper money for players to work with. In Guadalcanal, each player has a pretty significant amount of money to spend on each round, and for me, keeping track of what I’m getting without some kind of physical money is really difficult. I ended up stealing the amount of money the game needs from my 1940 games (and no, they didn’t come with money either – I bought their money on the internet).

Important side note

Be sure you look up the FAQ online. The manual contains a huge error, stating that each player gets 5 IPC plus 2 IPC per island they control. Actually, each player gets 10 IPC plus 4 IPC per island. They say the game is playable either way, but it wouldn’t be near as interesting with half the money to spend each round.


Overall, I really enjoy Guadalcanal, and I think it’s my favorite of the offshoot A&A games (this, Battle of the Bulge, and D-Day). The strategy is deep enough to make it a different experience every time. There is a lot of decision making involved, as well as trying to predict what decisions your opponent is about to make. You have to think a few steps ahead to be successful. And there is a lot of tension as it plays out to keep it interesting. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a two player wargame with a little bit deeper strategy element than standard A&A.

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